Q: Some friends of ours who've read a couple of your books and attended one of your talks told us that they solved some major discipline problems with their 4-year-old just by using what they called alpha speech. They tried to explain it to us, but we'd like to get it straight from the horse's mouth, so to speak. Would you please help us better understand what they were talking about, and are there other parenting authors who say the same thing?

A: The concept of alpha speech is not original to me. In generations past, it was widely understood to be the essence of proper child discipline. I simply named it. I also refer to it as leadership speech. Regardless, it is the very traditional understanding that the successful discipline of a child is more a matter of properly conveying authority than properly using consequences (albeit the latter is also important).

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